ADHD + Stress in Children: Free Talk for Central Mass. Families
Thursday, October 31, 2013
The event, entitled "Academic Strategies and Mindful Approaches for Students With ADD/ADHD and Executive Function Challenges", will take place at Tatnuck Bookseller in Westborough and will help parents to:
- Gain a deeper understanding of ADD and Executive Functioning
- Learn how students truly experience these hurdles, and how to support them
- Discuss concrete strategies to help them be more productive
- Address how stress relates to these challenges, for the student, the parents, and the family as a whole
- Explore how a mindful approach can be an effective tool to manage these challenges
Speaker Alan Houghtaling has nearly twenty years working with teenagers and young people, and has worked in education, counseling, tutoring and coaching. He prides himself on his ability to help young people not only become better students, but also to help them evolve and reach their own potential. Alan works with students and their families to facilitate the best conditions for academic and personal growth.
Houghtaling has spent the last few years developing a set of strategies for reducing stress in children and improving parent/child relationships, which will serve as the centerpiece of the event. See Houghtaling's 4 strategies below.
1. Don't minimize or be dismissive
It’s important to remember that what they are feeling is real. Even though the way in which they communicate their stress can be dramatic or unproductive at times, it doesn’t make it any less true for them. They are already hypersensitive to critiquing by parents, and are looking for ways to shut you out, so being dismissive or treating it like it’s not a big deal is the last thing you want to do.
Instead of being quick to offer suggestions or direction, just listen to them voice their frustration. It’s important that they feel “heard”, and respected in these moments. Sometimes it’s even helpful, after they are done talking or venting, to actually ask them if it’s ok for you to say something, or if they are in the space for you to offer a suggestion. If they say yes, great. But if they say no, honor that as well.
3. Bring Curiosity and Mindfulness to your interactions
Curiosity is a great tool to use in life, and in our tutoring we use it a great deal. As parents though, sometimes our frustration leads us to asking either rhetorical or loaded questions. Things like, “when are you going to do your homework?, what’s wrong with you, or why don’t you study harder?”, are not questions that come from being curious. Instead, be mindful of how you frame questions, doing so in a way where you create the possibility of an answer that could lead to a conversation. This can be challenging, but is well worth the effort.
4. Simple expressions of support
It’s important that they feel supported, and not just when things are challenging. Let them know that you love them, and are proud of who they are, outside of academics. Maybe it’s after you listen to how stressed they are, or while they are casually watching TV, texting a friend, or eating dinner. You would be surprised how an out of the blue pat on the back, hug, or kiss on the forehead, followed with a simple “I’m proud of you”, can influence your child and positively impact your relationship with them.
The "Academic Strategies and Mindful Approaches for Students With ADD/ADHD and Executive Function Challenges" talk and workshop will be held at Tatnuck Bookseller in Westborough on November 13 at 7pm. Admission is free.